COLUMBUS — We’ll see how this plays out in the next few hours, but it looks as though Michael Ryder will be assigned a seat in the press box here tonight when the Bruins try to shake their 0-2-2 skid in a rare visit with the Blue Jackets.
Early this afternoon, following the club’s morning workout, coach Claude Julien made it clear he hasn’t seen enough of late from Ryder–specifically in offensive productiion an overall accountability–and he will decide prior to the 7 p.m. faceoff if Ryder or rookie Tyler Seguin will play on the right side of the Mark Recchi-Chris Kelly combinaton.
”Michael’s a streaky player as well,” said Julien, when I asked him to compare Ryder’s current offensive woes with those of Nathan Horton during a protracted stretch around mid-season. ”He has to score goals, and when that isn’t happening, players have to give effort in other areas.”
Ryder, on the books for $4 million a year (a three-year deal that expires with Boston’s final game this season) is a paltry 1-2–3 over the last 11 games.
”At this stage of the season,” mused Julien, his club sputtering on the power play, where Ryder was once a fixture, ”we want accountability. And that may mean a player has to step his game up. If things aren’t going well, you have to help with something else. If you aren’t scoring, then be good in your own end [of the ice]…do things that will help the hockey club.”
Ryder, 17-20–37 this season, has played in all 68 of the club’s games to date.
At the trade deadline, the Bruins opted to keep Ryder on the roster, while dishing away both Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler, whose combined salaries were the equal of the streaky $4M winger.